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Learning how to cook requires dedication, patience, and a willingness to eat the batches that aren’t quite ready for prime time. Learning new techniques for cooking is a life-long learning experience and your education begins here. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you on your way to cooking success.

Many of the most important nutrients present in vegetables are removed or destroyed with lengthy cooking methods such as boiling. To keep the nutrients in tact, consider steaming or sauteing your food, or even serving them raw.

Add a small pinch of sea salt to your ground coffee immediately before brewing. This will add a great punch of flavor to every cup. This process works well in either a traditional coffee maker or a french press. Don’t add the salt before brewing time though, or your coffee flavor will be compromised.

Make sure that if you are planning a party with friends and family, to have each course planned out in advance. You should have an appetizer course, salad course, main dish and dessert. Breaking your meal into courses will give people a chance to digest and appreciate what you have cooked for them.

If you are boiling pasta, make sure that you do not put too much in the pot. This will not cook your food all the way through and will taste very raw and thick. Try to limit the amount of pasta that you put in the pot to maximize taste and quality.

To take the metallic taste out of canned pumpkin pie filling, heat the filling with all of your spices first. Simply mixing your filling with the other ingredients and then baking traps the metallic taste in your finished pie. But by heating your pumpkin filling alone with the spices first, you release the metallic taste of the filling and simultaneously imbue it with the richer taste of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.

For fluffier pancakes, allow the batter to sit for about five minutes before you start pouring it into the pan. This will allow the flour to absorb more of the moisture in the mix, making for much lighter pancakes that will rise more when you cook them and give them that great restaurant flavor!

Instead of approaching cooking as an analytic process, you should try to maximize the amount of fun that you have in the kitchen. Put the music on loud and dance from time to time to enjoy what you are doing. Keeping something fun and casual will reduce errors from anxiety.

Always continue to taste test all of your food as you cook them. Cooking a sauce, and you’re not sure if it needs more salt? Just taste it and you’ll know right away. Getting into a habit of testing all of your foods will keep you from accidentally over-spicing or under-spicing it.

The best part of cooking is that you can eat your mistakes. Don’t be scared about trying something new. Even Julia Childs and Wolfgang Puck have made complete failures of dishes at one point or another. Cooking is all about learning and experimentation until you learn what works for you, so give it a shot!

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